The Lord’s Prayer: An Adventure in Missing the Point

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April 28, 2016

Matthew 6:9-13

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’

CONSIDER THIS

Oh the irony. . .

Here’s a prayer the Son of God has taught us to engage behind doors as a pattern for our most intimate conversation with our Father. Somehow it has become a fairly impersonal rote recitation used only in public gatherings. And because of the way we’ve experienced it as rote recitation, it’s the last thing we would take into our 6:6 prayer room time.

Ok, whether we pray the prayer in public gatherings or not, here’s the bottom line: THE LORD’S PRAYER IS GOD’S CRYSTAL CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW HE WANTS US TO MEET WITH HIM IN PRIVATE. These are the points on his agenda for our private one-on-one meetings. You would  never recite an agenda would you? No, you work through it as the structure for the meeting. The agenda is ever changing in its specific content, but it is always the same in its basic structure. Here it is:

I. PRESENCE. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

II. PURPOSE. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

III. PROVISION. Give us today our daily bread.

IV. PEACE. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

V. PROTECTION. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

What else is there? Wesley makes the point even stronger:

We may observe, in general, concerning this divine prayer, first, that it contains all we can reasonably or innocently pray for. There is nothing which we have need to ask of God, nothing which we can ask without offending him, which is not included, either directly or indirectly, in this comprehensive form.

Secondly, that it contains all we can reasonably or innocently desire; whatever is for the glory of God, whatever is needful or profitable, not only for ourselves, but for every creature in heaven and earth. And, indeed, our prayers are the proper test of our desires; nothing being fit to have a place in our desires which is not fit to have a place in our prayers: what we may not pray for, neither should we desire.

Thirdly, that it contains all our duty to God and man; whatsoever things are pure and holy, whatsoever God requires of the children of men, whatsoever is acceptable in his sight, whatsoever it is whereby we may profit our neighbor, being expressed or implied therein. p.120

As I write this, I realize how much I’ve missed the point of this prayer over the years. I’m going to try to get back to the basic agenda. You interested?

Daily Text MATTHEW 04-28-16

THE QUESTIONS

1. Have you ever thought about this—that the Lord’s Prayer was given for private, prayer closet kind of praying? Isn’t it ironic that this would be the most public prayer in the world and perhaps the least private? What about that?

2. PRESENCE. PURPOSE. PROVISION. PEACE. PROTECTION. What else do you need that is not somehow included here? We might add that bit of the prayer the church has added, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.” Let’s call that POWER.

3. So Jesus has told us what not to do. He has told us where to go for the meeting. He has given us the agenda. What is stopping us? What will it take to get this going in your life now? Remember- it’s not optional for the followers of Jesus.
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.  jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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